WHY HE CHANGED HOW HE PLOTS, AVOIDING THE “JAMES MICHENER EFFECT,” HOW FICTION ABOUT YOUNG ADULTS DIFFERS FROM YA FICTION
Thomas Wharton. If he decided to wear a ballcap that says “Winning” he’d have every right to do so. His first novel was Icefields, and straight out of the gate, it won the Commonwealth Writer’s Prize for Best First Book in the Canada/Caribbean division, and the first Banff Mountain Book grand prize. Then his second novel, Salamander, was short-listed for the Governor-General’s Literary Award and the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Then he up and gets his short story collection The Logogryph shortlisted for the IMPAC-Dublin Prize.
He also published The Perilous Realm, a YA fantasy trilogy. And his work’s been published in the US, UK, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, and many other countries. He teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta where he and I studied creative writing together way back in the early 1990s, and we had the chance to work together when I was the Writer in Residence at the U of A in 2014-2015. Tom’s also a down-to-earth cat who values rich language, numerous genres, and quality teaching.
In today’s episode of MF GALAXY, Wharton discusses:
- What it takes to teach creative writing well
- Whether Millennials are more narcissistic writers than Generation-Xers or Baby Boomers
- How he plans stories and what made him change his method
- Avoiding what he calls “the James Michener effect,” and
- Clarifying the differences between fiction about young adults and young adult fiction
Thomas Wharton’s online writers’ workshop